Speech By Henry Kwek
MP for Nee Soon GRC
On the Cyber Security Bill
1. Thank you Speaker Sir for allowing me to speak on this important Bill.
2. As the world rapidly advances into the realm of the Internet of Things and Industry 4.0, we are presented with a plethora of opportunities to change how we live, work, learn and do business. But amidst a rapidly changing society, a more connected world through the internet also exposes us to new and more complex risks – namely cyber threats.
3. Today, cyber threats affect everyone from individuals to governments and from non-profits to large multinationals. Last year, Uber revealed that its cyber security was breached in 2016, which forced it to lose about 57 million users’ and drivers’ data as it has to pay the hacker US$100,000 to erase the stolen data and to keep confidential about the hack. Consultancy firm Accenture revealed in a 2015 report that cyber attacks will cost US hospitals more than US$305 billion over five years with 1 in 13 patients having their data leaked to a hack.
Our Role as a Business Hub
4. Singapore is also not any less exposed to such threats. On the contrary, as a financial services hub and a regional hub to many global corporations, we are among some of the most exposed countries in the world, making us an attractive proposition to hackers from around the world. But it is key to see how vulnerable we are. In a survey done last year by security services provider Quann of 150 senior IT professionals from Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia showed that 40 percent do not have an incident response plan for when they are facing cyber attacks and 67 per cent of them admit to not practicing their incident response plans.
5. This stands to impact our reputation, credibility and position as a global corporate hub and a regional e-commerce platform. As chair of ASEAN this year, Singapore has identified our aspirations to push for an ASEAN-wide e-commerce platform. For such an ambitious project, and to protect our business hub status, we need to make sure we have a strong cyber security framework and regime.
Keeping Watch on the Guards
6. In that regard, I am very supportive of this Bill as it outlines plans to make the cyber world in Singapore a safer place.
7. However, I also have an additional concern to highlight that I believe need to be addressed so as to strengthen our cyber security regime. Let me outline these. First, about the companies we are entrusting to protect the cyber world here. While we may have certification regimes to manage such companies and ensure that they meet desirable quality standards, do we know enough about the people who are working in these companies? Do these professionals, who are certified, have a vested interest in Singapore? What if they have interests that are contradictory to Singapore’s? It is certainly not a stretch of any imagination that we may have foreign interests among our cyber security professionals here, who may leverage on their positions in having access to sensitive and confidential platforms. While it is difficult to ensure this doesn’t happen, I think a more thorough due diligence checks by our cyber security agency will help as will strong penalties acting as deterrents for misuse of access to data.
8. While the Bill will help to create a strong cyber security regime for Singapore, we must ensure that we are not caught blind-sided by any unforeseen elements. For doing so will be a risk that could prove costly for Singapore in many ways.
9. Thank you,Speaker Sir. I support the Bill.